Exploring Program-specific Tuition Proposals

Provost Dew offers a comment regarding the exploration of program-specific tuition proposals.

Over the last decade, professional programs across Canada have been shifting to offer more customized, intensive experiential-focused approaches. This has been accompanied by corresponding increases in tuition to fund these program changes. Because tuition has been frozen for most of the last decade in Alberta, we have not been able to keep up with this trend. To ensure that the quality of our programs remains competitive with our leading peers, a few of our faculties are exploring exceptional tuition increases for new students who enrol in specific programs starting in Fall 2022. While some of the increases being considered are quite substantial, they only bring us back into line with tuition levels at our peer Canadian institutions. It is important to note that any exceptional increase to tuition would only impact new students; our current students would not be affected. To ensure financial means is not a barrier in these programs, a key part of any exceptional increase would be a significant expansion of financial assistance opportunities for students who enroll in them.

The process for exceptional tuition fee increases are specified in the Alberta Tuition Framework. Of our more than 500 programs, twelve are considering an increase and are now consulting with their current students to discuss the possibilities for what increased funding could achieve. Programs that advance beyond the consultation phase will still require further institutional and government approvals before moving forward.

We would only move forward program proposals that demonstrate how students would benefit from the proposed increases. Improving class sizes by hiring more faculty members, fostering equity, diversity, and inclusivity initiatives, increasing bursaries to improve financial assistance for low-income students and those who may have historically been disadvantaged, and expanding experiential and work-integrated learning opportunities are all examples of possible enhancements for the learning environment.

Programs consulting with their students about possible increases include the Juris Doctor program, the MBA program, the Bachelor of Commerce, the Masters in Educational Counselling Psychology, the Bachelor of Science (Medicine) in Radiation Therapy, the Bachelor of Science (Medicine) in Medical Laboratory Science, Dentistry, Doctor of Pharmacy, and Bachelors and Masters in Engineering. Collectively these professional programs are expected to admit approximately 3,600 new students in Fall 2022.

No decisions will be made until student and other stakeholder feedback is received and considered. The student perspective matters, so it’s imperative that current students take part in the consultation opportunities being offered in the coming weeks.

Steven Dew
Provost & Vice-president Academic